Experience Childbirth Your Way at University Hospitals

Giving birth is a very personal experience, and every woman has a unique vision for her journey – with her own preferences and needs. At University Hospitals, expectant mothers can choose from seven hospitals with childbirth services to find the one that supports her birthing preferences and needs, while having confidence in the skilled team of clinicians and staff who are there to support them.

Unmedicated, Natural Childbirth

Many women choose unmedicated, natural childbirth. Our nurse-midwives work with expectant mothers to find alternative ways to help them cope with pain during labor and delivery. Alternative pain management options include breathing techniques, hypnotherapy, aromatherapy, therapeutic use of music, massage therapy and hydrotherapy.

Hydrotherapy

Warm water immersion during labor, known as a water birth or hydrotherapy, is an alternative labor pain relief method that offers many benefits, such as lowering stress and anxiety. This method also allows more freedom of movement, requires less energy and provides a sense of comfort and calm. Discuss risks, benefits and available shower and birthing tub options with your doctor or midwife.

C-Section

A cesarean birth is the delivery of a baby through an incision made through the mother's lower abdomen and uterus. This method typically is not a choice for mothers, but rather a medical necessity to safely deliver her baby. Called a cesarean section, or C-section, can be a life-saving technique for both moms and babies. Because cesarean section is a type of surgery, it requires many medical interventions and has the similar risks as other surgeries. In addition, it generally requires additional time in the hospital and increases recovery time and risk for infections.

VBAC (Vaginal Birth After A Cesarean)

Doctors used to believe that if a woman had one cesarean birth, that all her future children would need to be born this way as well. Today, doctors know many women can safely deliver babies vaginally after having a cesarean. Success rates for vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) is around 60 to 80 percent, depending on the reason. For cesareans due to breech, the success rate climbs to 90 to 95 percent.

Unlike cesareans, a vaginal childbirth:

  • Requires no abdominal surgery
  • Means shorter time in the hospital
  • Has a lower risk of infection
  • Leads to less blood loss or need for blood transfusions

The two biggest risks associated with vaginal birth after cesarean are uterine rupture – a life-threatening issue for both mom and babies affecting approximately 1 percent of VBACs – and tearing of the scar during labor or delivery.

If you have had a previous cesarean, you will have to meet certain criteria in order to choose vaginal birth after cesarean. For instance, only women who have had a single, low transverse cesarean section are candidates for VBAC. Women who have had more than one cesarean or have a vertical or classical incision should not attempt a vaginal birth after cesarean.

Your prenatal care doctor or midwife will review your history from previous cesarean deliveries with you to help determine your eligibility. With proper counseling and support, vaginal birth after cesarean can be a reality for most women.